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If you’re looking out the back window at snowflakes flying – or avoiding the windows altogether because you can’t bear to see your beloved pool freezing all alone outside – you might be the type that’s tempted to pull on your Sorels and head out back to give your pool some TLC. That’s right, let the rest of the family call you crazy, you paid a lot of money for this pool and you don’t want to see it sit partially empty for several months of the year! Perhaps it starts with friendly chats: “How are you, pool? How’s the water down there? Cold enough for ya, pool?” Then it escalates as you start getting all kinds of ideas about putting your pool to use this winter.

Before the neighbours drag you away from your pool for a short rest in a locked ward, prevent embarrassing misunderstandings by reading our handy guide of what NOT to use your pool for this winter.

  1. Pool owners with salt water pools may be thinking, “Gosh, this is salt water, just like the ocean. Why am I wasting it out here? Why not bring in a bucket or two and have a nice hot salt bath like my massage therapist is always saying?” News flash: the salt in your pool isn’t the same as ocean salt, or even the lactic-acid flushing Epsom salts your masseuse wants you to bask in. It’s only 1/10th as salty as ocean water, and in pools, that salt is created by adding chemicals that break down into components like chlorine gas, which can dry the skin rather than nourishing it. So leave the water in the pool where it belongs.
  2. Car washing. Some people just hate to waste good water, but pool water, as stated above, is laden with chemicals; not the kind that will get your car shining clean, but the kind that will cause unbelievable corrosion and damage to your vehicle.
  3. Does your delightful kidney-shaped pool look exactly like an ice rink now that winter has hit? Before you break out the hot chocolate and start lacing up the kids’ skates, consider that the only frozen surfaces you should be putting your weight on are at nice, safe public arenas like the Devonshire, or outdoor rinks like The Oval.
  4. Walking on water. Repeat to yourself: “I am an ordinary pool owner. I cannot perform miracles. I am not going to walk on the surface of my semi-frozen pool to show others that I possess special powers. Because I don’t.”
  5. If you were diligent about skimming, brushing, getting the winter pool cover on, and other maintenance, your water may look and feel just fine! Sure, it’s a little cold, but you’re not a wimp, you can take it! If those Scandinavians can jump through a hole in the ice, surely you can jump into your pool and get some year-round use out of it, right? No, please don’t. Swimming in ice water makes your body work twice as hard. It can also lead to hypothermia and even heart attacks, perhaps from the shock of the cold temperatures and perhaps from being grabbed by whatever could be lurking down there if your winterization measures were a bit lax.

Don’t despair; your outdoor pool may not be a year-round investment, but don’t they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Get a sturdy winter cover to prevent animals and children from approaching the pool in winter; take a refreshing indoor swim at a local community centre, and start counting the days until spring.

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